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Poster: gzd Date: Jan 14, 2010 9:06am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Copyright issues - showing a public domain film at event

According to the US Copyright Office web site, the film's copyright was renewed in 1985. This seems a bit strange though, as the movie was registered in 1961 and renewal normally occurs in the last year of the original term (28 years). Maybe the renewal request was made too early and is invalid.

I suggest you post again in the Feature Films forum. There are people there (Video-Cellar especially) who are really knowledgeable about the validity of copyright notices and renewals.

This is the renewal record from the US Copyright Office database:
Type of Work: Motion Picture
Registration Number / Date: PA0000279895 / 1985-12-05
Title: The Magic sword / produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon.
Imprint: [Culver City, Calif.] : A United Artists release, 1961.
Description: 5 film reels (80 min.) : sd., col. ; 16 mm.
Notes: Based on a screenplay entitled Saint George and the dragon.
Cast: Basil Rathbone, Estelle Winwood, Gary Lockwood et al.
Credits: Screenplay: Bernard Schoenfeld; story: Bert I. Gordon; director of photography: Paul Voge; music by Richard Markowitz.
Copyright Claimant: Bert I. Gordon Productions, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1961
Date of Publication: 1961-03-31
Authorship on Application: Bert I. Gordon Productions, Inc., employer for hire.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: all cinematographic material except story & screenplay.
Other Title: Saint George and the dragon
Names: Gordon, Bert I.
Schoenfeld, Bernard
Bert I. Gordon Productions, Inc.

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Poster: HektorT Date: Apr 16, 2010 11:54am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Copyright issues - showing a public domain film at event

This registration referenced above is not a renewal. Registration numbers of copyright renewals always begin with "RE". "PA" indicates a new claim. In this case you must look at the "Basis of Claim" which describes "all new cinematographic material". That means that the copyright claimant is registering a derivative work of this title.

However, the original 1961 version (originally released in Denmark by an All American creative team: not eligible for GATT restoration) is generally considered to be in the Public Domain and is even listed on the Wikipedia's (highly inaccurate) list of Public Domain films.